The children at Monticello Elementary had quite a memorable day when six different exotic animals joined them at school, prior to the pandemic.
There was a white two-year-old Cockatoo named Sydney that loved attention, a species known for hunting and being protective of each other. “They’re a lot like us,” Chris Lee of Zoodles explained to the students at the assembly.
A young kangaroo joey named “Jerome” that wore a diaper, hopped across the gymnasium floor, thrilling the students. When he was not performing, teachers on the sideline held him and cuddled with him while wrapped up in a blanket like a baby.
Lee, who traveled from Light House, Tennessee, told the students that the young kangaroo could wiggle his ears all the way around, as he poked his head out of his blanket pouch. He was probably the most popular of the animals Lee shared with the students. When he hopped he was capable of kicking anything that gets in his way, extremely hard.
A unique blue-tongued skeet, usually found in Indonesia, was another visitor. The skink looked like a cross between a lizard and a snake. His snake-like eyes were attached to his bony-scaled head. He had tiny legs that were relatively proportioned to the size of his body.
Lee said he was not an endangered animal. His favorite foods were crickets, grub worms, and beef jerky. He also enjoyed vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale. His life expectancy is 10-12 years in the wild or 20-25 years in captivity.
Another visitor named Solomon was a beautiful green parrot with a candy corn colored beak. Solomon was 20-years-old and can live to 80-years-old. Lee told the students he was mainly a herbivore, reminding them that is a plant-eating animal. However, Lee confessed as the parrot flew high around the gym over the basketball hoops, he particularly enjoyed McDonald’s French fries and Little Debbie cakes.
A two-year-old and 18-year-old Redfoot Tortoise were also introduced to the students. They are one of the more popular and friendly tortoise, originally from South America. They thrive in humid environments and eat greens (lettuce and carrots) and grasses, along with occasional treats like a strawberry or melon.
After being introduced to the animal ambassadors, students had the chance to get their photo made with one of the animals. Parents had signed permission slips and sent money for the photo shoot with their child. Lee only visits Title I schools at no cost to the school, so the photo shoots paid for the Zoodles experience.
Zoodles Animal Educator Chris Lee talked about a tortoise he brought
Lee wrestled with the young kangaroo joey named Jerome
Jerome hopped all over the gym floor wearing a diaper
Physical Education Teacher Stewart Gregory patted the young kangaroo from the sideline
Exotic animal educator Chris Lee conducted the assembly
Monticello Elementary yearbook editor Carol Wells let the cockatoo perch on her camera from the sideline after his debut.
White Cockatoo named Sydney
Jayden Brown showed off a tortoise.
Fifth grader Jacob Denney met the beautiful green parrot named Solomon
Monticello Elementary Speech Pathologist Samantha Allen fed the kangaroo a snack while he was waiting to make his appearance in front of the crowd.
After the performance, Monticello Elementary fifth grader Abby Reagan had fun petting the kangaroo
Fifth grader Mikel Morrow got to hold the young kangaroo